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Office of Health Affairs

OHA Mission

The Office of Health Affairs serves as the Department of Homeland Security's principal agent for all medical and health matters. Working throughout all levels of government and the private sector, the Office of Health Affairs leads the Department's role in developing and supporting a scientifically rigorous, intelligence-based biodefense and health preparedness architecture to ensure the security of our Nation in the face of all hazards.


While serving as the principal agent for all the Department's medical and health security matters, the Office of Health Affairs (OHA) also oversees the Department's biodefense activities; leads a coordinated national architecture for biological and chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) planning and catastrophic incident management; and ensures that Department employees have an effective occupational health and safety program.

OHA is comprised of the following primary offices:

Weapons of Mass Destruction and Biodefense Office

  • oversees all bio-monitoring activities of executive branch Departments
  • provides a bio-aerosol environmental monitoring system for early detection of biological events
  • leads veterinary and agro-defense activities, including animal and zoonotic diseases as well as livestock, food, and water security issues
  • works with the Department's Science & Technology Directorate to manage the  equities in Project BioShield.

Medical Readiness Office

  • is responsible for integrating emergency management and medical response capabilities with all levels of government as well as the private sector
  • serves as the Department’s primary representative to the first health responder community
  • provides incident management and guidance for medical-related security issues during emergencies and catastrophic events
  • oversees the health aspects of contingency planning for all chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear hazards  
  • provides interagency coordination of medical and health preparedness grants.

Component Services & Workforce Health Protection Office

  • works in conjunction with the Department's safety and personnel programs to add occupational health and medicine considerations to employee health and safety efforts
  • assists the Department's Components in delivering workforce health protection and wellness programs
  • provides medical professional oversight of all medical services provided by, for, or on behalf of the Department 
  • serves as the Department’s first-line component for issues impacting the health of Department employees

International Affairs and Global Health Security

  • serves as the subject matter expert on all aspects of global health security, natural and intentional global health security threats, international medical readiness, and all-hazards emergency public health planning
  • coordinates Departmental collaboration and sharing of global lessons-learned with key multinational, multilateral, bilateral, academic, and private sector global health security-related partners in the areas of biodefense and health preparedness


Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Attn: Office of Health Affairs
Phone: 202-254-6479

This page was last reviewed/modified on January 20, 2009.